Robot Versus Robot: Area Students Compete - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Robot Versus Robot: Area Students Compete

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  It's a serious, head-to-head robot event where area students show what they -- and their creations -- are made of.

First Tech Challenge is a national robotics competition for 9th through 12th graders.  The challenge is to design and build a robot, then beat the clock to perform certain robot tasks.  Bismarck students have been working on their robots since October.  Their experiences vary:

"We burned three or four motors now. . . .  We had maybe less than a month to actually work on this robot and the programming wasn't even done last night," says David Peroni of Grafton High School.

"Pretty much everything that could go wrong in testing did, so today it's actually working, which is just amazing," says Bobbie Burkhardsneier of Wachter Middle School.

"It's been really fun to work with a group and I love these guys," says Haley Smith of Century High School.  

"I'm going in to be an engineer and I was basically the main builder, and this was a good opportunity to apply some of the stuff I'm learning in my high school courses," says Ian Wolf of Bismarck High School.

Team Bismarck is in the building stage this year.  Since you have to have a minimum of 12 teams for a local competition to qualify, this year's competition fell short with too few teams.
But this time next year, one of these teams may be headed to St. Louis to compete on the world stage against countries like China.  In the meantime, there's lots to learn.

"The students have had to reconfigure and rethink and do some problem solving, and that's really what it's all about is the problem solving.  Besides the robotics, it's also about life skills, and we like to look at gracious professionalism," says Paul Keidel of Bismarck Public Schools Career Academy.

Students worked with local engineers who volunteered their time for the robotics competition.  For more on the First Tech robotics competition, go to 


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